This year I share my birthday with Thanksgiving. I will be 36. That’s crazy. I was happy to enter my thirties, feeling as if my twenties represented a decade of building, and I assumed my thirties would be a great decade of responsible enjoyment and growth. That it has, although I didn’t realize the pain involved in much of the growth. Nonetheless, I’ve really enjoyed being in my thirties. But I would like to enjoy them longer. It seems like the older I get, the more time surprises me. I have a twelve-year-old now! How is that even possible? I still feel like one day I’m going to be busted for trying to keep up the shenanigans of being a responsible adult. Everyone seems to believe me though. Don’t you guys realize that I still wear unmatching socks, sneak my kid’s Halloween candy, love to sport cheap sun(aka “fun”)glasses, workout in a yellow pair of Kangaroo sneakers, and still occasionally listen to Mama Said Knock You Out when I clean the house? There can be a case made that I am way too immature to turn 36. Thirty-stinken’-six! Sure, I know it’s still young, and my parents assure me that having a child turning 36 is much harder to swallow. But this whole realization of how fast life moves is a cause for concern to me. Since I’m painfully aware how quickly the clock turns, that means my precious children will be on their way out the door before I know it. And then I will cry. Hard. Out of these 36 years, I have been married for 14 ½ and parenting for 12 ½. Birthdays now cause reflection on how I’m doing in these areas. As I’m on the down-slope to 40, I’m wondering if I am where I hoped I would be at this stage in my life. I’m surely not ready to give up my yellow sneakers, but are my heart and my mind where I had hoped they would be by now? In some ways I can say that God has surpassed my expectations. I have a much more humble understanding of love and spiritual growth. But because of this, I also have to say no because in my sanctification, I realize more and more how far I really am from holiness. God has enormous amounts of work left to do in me, and the time is running shorter! There is a book called Severe Mercy (great read), written by Sheldon Vanauken. It is a story of Vanauken’s relationship with his wife, conversion to Christianity, and friendship with C.S. Lewis. There are some letters from Lewis in the book and in one of those he remarks that the fact that we are so surprised at the quick passing of time is proof to us that we were made for eternity. What a good point. Time is such an enemy to me because it is a constant evidence of the effects of sin. It is so hard to fathom what eternity actually feels like since we are such a slave to the results of aging. Yet we sense that time should not be so pernicious. There is a struggle involved in aging. And as I fight to be the person I want to be in Christ, I have to keep reminding myself that it is in Christ that I will truly be me. The thought of eternity takes me to Revelation 14:13: “And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!” Dennis Johnson provides a good commentary on this verse in his book, Triumph of the Lamb: Endurance is important not only because external threats from state or synagogue may intimidate believers but also because the demands of servanthood may make us become “weary” and “lose heart in doing good” (Gal. 6:9). Thus the first blessing of those who die in union with Jesus is rest from the wearying labors. Even as they await final vindication through resurrection (Rev. 6:9-11), deceased saints have already entered the eternal Sabbath of undistracted enjoyment and glorification of God. Yet the labors of this life are not forgotten. The second reason for their blessedness is that their deeds accompany them into God’s rest. The biblical hope of bodily resurrection entails the expectation that “deeds in the body” for the love of Jesus mean something eternally (2 Cor. 5:10). Though our deeds have been done in a body defiled by sin and disabled by the curse, a body destined to be planted in the earth as a dead seed (1 Cor. 15:42-43), nevertheless the grace and power of the risen Lord transforms them into thank offerings pleasing to the Father. The encouragement that concludes Paul’s rich resurrection chapter flows directly from the resurrection hope he has expounded throughout: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil [kopos] is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58). Even before that final resurrection, as saints’ souls now rest in the presence of their Master, their comfort and joy are sustained by his “well done” (Matt. 25:21) (208-209). This is such a good encouragement to keep on, isn’t it (I know, I'm talking like I'm turning 86)? And that point Lewis made about eternity goes the other way too, as we are reminded a couple of verses before in Rev. 14:11: “And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshippers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of the beast.” So the next time someone makes a remark about how quickly time flies, remember Lewis’ apologetic for eternity. It will serve as an encouragement or as a nudging conviction. **Related Articles: Joy Without Time, Active Rest